The sexual harassment of women at workplace, 2013 is an initiative in India to protect the women from harassment specially at their workplaces. Many women feel insecure at their workplace as it violates their right to equality, life and liberty. Sexual harassment is a major drawback as they feel discouraged at their workplace. After 16 years from the inconsolable case of Vishaka, who was sexually harassed at her workplace, the sexual harassment of women act came into existence to protect women. As it defines the unwelcome acts namely physical contact or conduct of any kind of sexual nature.
There is more than just a physical aspect to harassment. It affects not only physically but also emotionally. An ideal work environment should be respectful and supportive. Without the feeling of safety, women lose their focus on work which also leads to lack of motivation. They start living under a constant fear of being watched. If we let men get away with sexualizing women, we are as guilty as the culprit.
To prevent such behaviour, the Indian government passed an Act in 2013 namely- The sexual harassment of women at workplace to protect women’s rights. The act was passed by the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) on 3 September 2012. And by the Rajya Sabha by 26th of February 2013. The final act came into force at the end of the year that is on 9 December 2013.
The Sexual Harassment Act 2013 has the following features:
*The act of sexual harassment at the work place and creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints.
- The act says hostile work environment as forms of sexual harassment if this occurs in any act of sexual
- All women would get protection under this act irrespective of age or employment or financial status working in any public or private sector companies or in organised or unorganised organizations.
*An employer here is defined as any person who is responsible for his or her management, supervision, and control of the workplace and includes persons who formulate and administer policies of such an organisation under Section 2g.
*As clearly mentioned in Vishaka guidelines, at the workplace it should be only an employee – employee relationship.
- Even in the non- traditional workplace this act is
*If the committee receives any complaint it must be inquired within 90 days and should take action within 60 days as per the act.
*The Act requires the employers to conduct the education programs to make people aware about sexual harassment is wrong act.
*Under this right Government has full power to call an officer and inspect workplace and records related to sexual harassment in the organization.
- The act also considers the students studying in schools and colleges, nurses, doctors, patients working in the
*Employers who fail to comply will be punished with a fine of up to 50,000 rupees.
The act affirms that certain duties of the employer and district officer are to create awareness regarding sexual harassment at work place, sensitize the employees, assist the complaints committee in conducting the inquiry, act upon recommendations of the committee, and monitor timely submissions of reports of the committee. The non compliance of the provisions of the act can result in fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees and can also lead to cancellation of his license or withdrawal, non renewal, approval or cancellation of the registration, as the case may be.
Thus, objectification of women for sexual desires should be prevented at any cost and help them feel secured. An environment where women can speak without fear and are justified should be promoted and followed.